NPR Music was asked by a listener on how to reconcile a person you like with musical tastes you don’t. Here is their answer:
I’ve seen too many happy relationships in which the two parties liked different music — or voted for different politicians, or rooted for different sports teams — for me to declare anyone incompatible based on cultural preferences. As important as all of that stuff can be (which is to say: important), it’s got a lot less to do with happiness than how well he or she treats other people, how happy and secure you feel in the relationship, and the ease with which the two of you can hold a conversation. It’s great to never have to fight over the car stereo, but if the person you’re with makes you feel rotten about yourself, what’s the use?
I’ve certainly been guilty of using popular culture as shorthand. I often say that my favorite albums are litmus tests — not for whether I’d like you, but for whether you’d like me. But it’s just that: shorthand. You can glean a lot about a person’s earnestness, empathy and capacity for emotional openness based on the music he or she likes, but all you’re getting is a hint. Being around people who like great stuff is marvelous, but I’d prefer an actual great person every time. The music is just a bonus.
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